Praedicaturi supponimus. Is Gilbert of Poitiers approach to the problem of linguistic reference a pragmatic one?

Vivarium 49 (1-3):50-74 (2011)
The article investigates how the problem of (linguistic) reference is treated in Gilbert of Poitiers' Commentaries on Boethius' Opuscula sacra . In this text the terms supponere, suppositus,-a,-um , and suppositio mainly concern the act of a speaker (or of the author of a written text) that consists of referring—by choosing a name as subject term in a proposition—to one or more subsistent things as what the speech act (or the written text) is about. Supposition is for Gilbert an action performed by a speaker, not a property of terms, and his `contextual approach' has a pragmatic touch: “we do not predicate in order to supposit as much as we supposit in order to predicate“. Language is considered by Gilbert as a system for communication between human beings, key notions are the `sense in the author's mind' ( sensus mentis eius qui loquitur ) and the `interpreter's understanding' ( intelligentia lectoris ). The phenomenon of `disciplinal' discourse (“man is a species of individuals“) is treated by means of these hermeneutic notions and not by means of a special kind of supposition
Keywords Contextual approach   Hermeneutics   Pragmatics   Res supposita   suppositio   reference
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DOI 10.1163/156853411X590435
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